The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 13, 2011

No secrets here

Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau working hard on getting word out about what Enid has to offer

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — The new Enid Convention and Visitors Bureau is a work in progress.

Marcy Jarrett, director of ECVB, said the No. 1 goal is to find what people want in Enid and promote that directly.

“Rather than a shotgun approach, we are going to find out what people want here and use more of a rifle approach,” Jarrett said.

A consultant is now researching the hotel arena to see what those who regularly come to Enid would like to see. Jarrett expects that information coming in March or April to help with more strategic marketing.

“Enid is unknown as a destination. We’re being very strategic in going after the markets,” she said.

Research will identify who comes to Enid and determine what they would like to see while they are here.

Jarrett said Enid statewide image is not bad but nearly nonexistent. Local hotels boast 800 rooms that are 50 to 80 percent filled every week night.

Marketing will change that, Jarrett said, and the new Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center will be a huge factor. The museum currently is being marketed statewide in Oklahoma Today magazine.

“The regional heritage center will put Enid on the map,” she said. “We’re already getting buzz because of the heritage center and the Chisholm Trail Coalition.”

The bureau also has formed a partnership with Enid Regional Development Alliance.

Research will be shared by all partners, hotels, Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce and the city of Enid.

Apart from the current research project, the bureau is working on getting the word out about Enid.

More advertising is planned in Triple A and Metro Family magazines, and an Enid travel guide will be published in March.

Bureau staff also spends time contacting tour operators to discover interest trends and how Enid can meet those.

“I don’t like the expression Enid is the state’s best kept secret. We’re not doing our jobs if Enid is a best-kept secret,” Jarrett said.

She attends various state organization meetings to promote Enid and forms partnerships with other attractions and communities in northwest Oklahoma. She also is building a relationship with Vance Air Force Base because Vance students and their families need to have a good local experience.

Rob Houston, communication coordinator works with travel writers and develops promotional material.

The welcome center in the ECVB office, 123 W. Maine, soon will open.

“This is an investment for the long haul, and it will grow,” Jarrett said. “It’s not an overnight business. It takes time to build relationships that weren’t here before.”